We’ve found a fascinating study, from the University of Manchester in the UK. This research used a population of almost 477,000 and compared hand grip strength to cognitive performance. While there have been some similar prior studies on older adults, this is the first to include adults as young as 40. All 477,000 were tested on medically-calibrated hand grip strength machines. (A Jamar J00105 hydraulic hand dynamometer if you’re interested. Picture below.) Study participants were also tested for five types of mental performance: visual memory, reaction time, reasoning, number memory and prospective memory. Research was led by Dr. Joseph Firth of the University of Western Sidney, Dr. Brendan Stubbs of the Department of Psychological Medicine at Kings College in London, and Post-Doc Davy Vancampfort of the Leuven Department of Rehabilitation in Leuven Belgium. Results were unambiguous; participants with stronger grips outperformed on all five dimensions. There were particularly superior results on reasoning and faster reaction time. (We’ve previously noted the strong relationship of speed of processing to reduced risk of dementia.)
Here’s an interesting quote from the study: “Furthermore, handgrip strength is emerging as a useful clinical marker of mortality risk, as grip strength can be an even stronger predictor than either systolic blood pressure or obesity for both all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.” Link to the research here.
Based on this research, we’ll be adding some grip strength devices to our line of exercise gear ASAP.
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Always trying to grow bigger brains,
Blake, Blane & Gene
The Big Brain Team.
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